The imagination runs wild out in the wilderness when you meet not one but two bears on the trail down the mountain. Make noise they say, lots of noise and it will scare most bears away. Not these bears, we yelled, clapped, sang (loudly and out of tune) but could not get these bears to budge off the trail. They were busy eating huckleberry’s that were growing at the trails edge and a couple of dirty, loud hikers were not going to scare them away. Bears are in an “eating frenzy” at this time of year, devouring 25,000 calories a day to prepare for winter hibernation. Unfortunately the trail etched steep in the side of a mountain and did not lend itself for going around the bears as we would have fallen off the cliffs edge. So we walked calmly past the bears, bear spray in hand ready to deploy if needed. Luckily these bears paid us no attention as we walked by and the bear spray not needed. The remaining 4 miles down the mountain were just a little unnerving. Every sound we heard was a bear and around every corner a we saw….bear. Eventually we made it safely to the trailhead without further incident but we were ready to hit the road and leave bear country behind.
A week of travel has us a long way from Yellowstone where we started traveling one week ago. From Yellowstone we drove a short way to Grand Tetons National Park. After a cold night of camping at the Colter Bay campground we drove to the trailhead for Amphitheater Lake. Signs of autumn were visible as the foliage had started to turn yellow and red. The Tetons towered in front of us and the Jackson Hole valley lay behind us. And as mentioned a couple of bears were beside us. The alpine lake was beautiful even under mostly cloudy skies. We could see hikers who made it to the summit of Teton Mountain, over 13,000 feet high. The next day it was much easier hiking as we walked along the shores of Leigh Lake. Very close to the popular Jenny Lake, a long sandy shoreline provides a scenic spot for a picnic. We toyed with the thought of camping at Jenny Lake, but the nights are getting colder (in the low 30’s) and we decided to seek a warmer climate.
So seek a warmer climate we did, by driving about 500 miles south to Moab, Utah. Set in red rock country with Arches National Park but 5 miles away and Canyonlands National Park just 30 miles away, we were in warm weather hiking heaven. The day time temperatures were still in the 90’s here and at night in the 60’s. Incredible rock formations towered above us and of course arches were present on most every hiking trail. We did the hike to the famous Delicate Arch in the heat of the afternoon with many others who have travelled from all over the world to see this park. We ended the day with a picnic dinner.